Call for Papers

Great to see those of you who attended during the three days of the Festival, from Thursday 16th – Saturday 18th July.


You can find a full listing of all abstracts and paper sessions here.


Some contributors have also provided extended papers which can be accessed here. (9MB download)


You can also find the full printed version of the programme here. (30MB download)


Leading Wellbeing is a research festival on 16-18 July 2015 at which up to 50 academic papers will be presented in sessions during the 3 days. The academic committee seeks papers on the themes of leadership, sustainability and wellbeing. Deadline for abstracts to be submitted is March 16th 2015. Read on for more context…


Popular protests calling for greater action on climate change show that despite some progress by businesses, governments and communities in reducing environmental harm, many believe that the trajectory of our economies is contrary to long term sustainability. The social harm from environmental degradation is now widely recognised, with links to malnutrition, forced migration and conflict. More leaders in business and civil society recognise that little progress is occurring, and therefore calling for a more ambitious form of leadership to transform organisations and societies. Where will this leadership come from? What forms will it take? How can it be encouraged?


When people call for more leadership, they often assume what leadership means. If this new interest in leadership is to engender swifter change, we need greater understanding of emergent, distributed and purposeful forms of leadership. Much could be learned by exploring potential practical insights from critical leadership studies, which applies sociological deconstruction to mainstream myths about leadership. The locations for much of the hoped-for sustainable leadership will be within professions and communities, and so learning forms of leadership relevant to these contexts is important, rather than applying a homogenised approach inherited from large corporations.


Sustainability is an abstract concept to many non-specialists and as such is limited in its ability to offer an alternative framing to current dominant notions of economic progress. On the other hand, the concept of wellbeing has wide recognition, and in recent years has attracted a wide range of intellectual engagement, research and policy discussion. Often this research has focused on individual wellbeing, and has approached the topic of society-wide wellbeing as an aggregation of individual experiences, rather than approaching it as a whole system shaped by sociological and ecological factors. Re-contextualising wellbeing in terms of wider sustainability offers a more comprehensive approach. It also suggests that workplace wellbeing and resilience be addressed without assuming commercial pressures to be unchangeable through social action. The concept of wellbeing may also be useful for exploring what a positive agenda could be in the context of disruptive climate change and, vice versa, such climate change demands we consider non-modernist notions of personal and collective wellbeing.


In recent years, mainstream researchers have been challenged to seek and demonstrate more impact and policy relevance for their work. The fields of action research, living inquiry and professional learning, often marginalised in mainstream academia, provide a useful track record in practice-oriented research. In addition, methods of experiential learning, sometimes outdoors, are key to the emotional developments that shape learning and unlearning. Therefore, it is important that these approaches be encouraged and discussed in the context of the contemporary leadership challenge for sustainable wellbeing. The methods and aims of such research arise from the heartfelt engagement by scholars in the issues that they study. To reflect and celebrate this approach to scholarship, a typical conference setting would be inadequate. Therefore this conference is organised as a research festival in a beautiful location, and mixes research papers with ideas from inspiring cultural leaders and the music of socially-engaged performers.


To ensure dialogue is focused on relevant implications, this research festival will also host senior executives from companies from many countries, including graduates of the university’s MBA in Leadership and Sustainability, and procurers of leadership development programmes for their own organisations.


After two previous conferences on Wellbeing, both the Brathay Trust and University of Cumbria are now taking this conference to a new level, aiming to launch an ongoing interdisciplinary network on leadership, sustainability and wellbeing as a result. There is space at the festival for up to 50 papers to be presented. The best papers will appear in a book published by Taylor & Francis, on Leading Wellbeing, and in a special issue of the Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal (SAMPJ). Abstracts or full papers are sought on the topic of leadership and sustainability or wellbeing, in the following areas, amongst others:


• Business
• Education
• The natural environment
• Policing and security
• Health services
• Social services
• Developing countries
• Non-for profits and social activism
• Culture, heritage and the arts
• Personal development
• Community development
• Experiential learning


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The abstracts will be reviewed by the academic panel, comprising: The academic organising committee includes Professor Jem Bendell, Dr. Pete Boyd, Dr. David Murphy, Professor Diane Cox and Jamie McPhie (all University of Cumbria); Dr. Lucy Maynard and Dr. Kaz Stuart (Brathay Trust); Richard Little (Impact International); Dr John Foster (University of Lancaster) and Dr. Michael Edwards (Open Democracy).


The Guest Editors of the special issue of SAMPJ are Professor Bendell, Dr Neil Sutherland, and Richard Little. The schedule for submitting papers for the Leading Wellbeing research festival is:


Submission of Abstracts: March 16th 2015
Notification of acceptance of abstracts: Mid April 2015
Submission of papers for inclusion in proceedings: June 30th 2015
Submission of papers for consideration by the special issue of SAMPJ: September 1st 2015
Early-bird Registration: March 10th 2015 (limited earlybirds, so may sell out sooner)
Registration deadline: July 10th 2015


To submit an abstract, download an abstract submission form. For full submission requirements for the SAMPJ, please see the author guidelines for the SAMPJ at:


The special issue will be published before the end of 2016. Papers can be submitted directly for consideration for the SAMPJ and not the research festival, by using the ScholarOne Manuscripts system. Only use this if you are not seeking to attend the research festival:


The aim of the Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal is to find practical and policy solutions to improve the social and environmental sustainability performance of (private, public sector and non-governmental) organisations and societies. SAMPJ provides a forum for quality research contributions with practice and policy implications concerning the interactions between social and environmental sustainability, accounting, management and policy. The contributions are drawn from differing socio-economic and political environments with an international, national or organisation specific analysis taking a single, inter- or multi- disciplinary perspective.


More information on IFLAS is at where you can download our Inaugural Report.